Seniors, Wellness and Social Development
November 17, 2014

Reducing Poverty a Priority for Provincial Government

Province Engaging Citizens on Next Steps for Poverty Reduction Strategy

The Provincial Government is reaffirming its commitment to reducing poverty in Newfoundland and Labrador with the announcement of an engagement process that will inform the development of the Poverty Reduction Strategy’s next action plan.

“As a province, we have many reasons to take pride in our accomplishments towards reducing poverty. Newfoundland and Labrador has made great strides along a challenging path, but we also know there is more to be done. This engagement process is about listening to people living in, or vulnerable to, poverty. It is about working with them, as well as advocates, community-based groups, Aboriginal organizations, business, and labour representatives and others on the current and future priorities of the strategy. It is crucial to the success of the Poverty Reduction Strategy’s next action plan that we hear from as many people as possible.”
- The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development

There are a number of ways individuals and groups can contribute to the development of the Poverty Reduction Strategy’s next action plan:

The deadline for submissions is January 19, 2015. For more information, visit: http://swsd.gov.nl.ca/poverty/prs.html

In addition, the Provincial Government and community groups will be meeting with individuals living in poverty and various stakeholder organizations. Following those meetings, two summits are planned; one in Labrador that will focus on Labrador-specific issues, and a provincial summit in St. John’s which will conclude the formal engagement process. While interested parties and members of the general public are invited to provide their input as outlined above, the summits will target key stakeholders and organizations. It is anticipated that the engagement process will conclude in mid-February 2015.

Approximately $1 billion has been approved for poverty reduction initiatives in this province since the launch of Reducing Poverty: An Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006. In June of this year, the Provincial Government released the second progress report for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, which demonstrated significant progress. It shows:

  • A 50 per cent drop in the number of persons living with low incomes since 2003 (which represents 36,000 fewer people living in low income);
  • In 2013, about seven per cent of the province received income support, the lowest level ever recorded − and a trend that is expected to continue;
  • The unemployment rate in 2013 was 11.4 per cent, the lowest it has been since this information has been recorded (1976). It was 16.4 per cent in 2003;
  • From 2003 to 2011, Median Family Income increased 26 per cent;
  • For students from low-income families beginning university, Newfoundland and Labrador remains the most affordable province on the Cost of Learning Index.

The second progress report for the Poverty Reduction Strategy can be viewed at: http://www.swsd.gov.nl.ca/poverty/pdf/prs_progress_report.pdf

QUICK FACTS

  • The Provincial Government is reaffirming its commitment to reducing poverty in Newfoundland and Labrador with an engagement process that will inform the development of the Poverty Reduction Strategy’s next action plan.
  • Individuals and groups can provide input through an online feedback form, through email, regular mail or by phone.
  • The Provincial Government and community groups will meet with individuals living in poverty, and stakeholder groups, across the province. Following the meetings, two summits are planned; one in Labrador that will focus on Labrador specific issues, and a provincial summit in St. John’s which will conclude the formal engagement process.
  • More than $1 billion has been invested in reducing poverty in this province since the launch of Reducing Poverty: An Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006.
  • The new Department of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development was created in part to further highlight social development through the Poverty Reduction Strategy to ensure all citizens can contribute to, and benefit from, the province’s growing economy.

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Media contact:

Heather May
Director of Communications
Department of Seniors, Wellness and Social Development
709-729-0928, 697-5061
heathermay@gov.nl.ca

2014 11 17                                        1:20 p.m.